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Downtown's New Blush Reveals Concept & Chef

Chef Daniel Barron will oversee an East-West menu.

Eater readers have been asking us what would become of the Wet Willie's space at 555 Market St since the frozen daiquiri bar finally gave up the ghost in February.

We can confirm that the concept that had been rumored to replace it is now a done deal; Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen is taking over and will be open by summer 2015.

Co-owners Taylor Kim and Russ Fukushima founded Blush Raw Bar and Lounge in San Jose, where it first opened in 2012. Kim, who lives in the East Village, chose the Gaslamp for their second restaurant, which will revolve around signature Blush cocktails that are topped with a float of frozen, fruit-flavored ice. Their plans for the 7,500-square-foot corner spot at Market and 6th include a 40-seat main bar, wine wall, roll-up garage door windows and a patio, plus an oyster lounge holding an 18-seat raw bar.

Tapped to head up the kitchen is executive chef Daniel Barron, who exited La Valencia last year and most recently spearheaded local dinners celebrating the return of foie gras.

daniel barron

His East-West menu for Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen, served both family-style and a la carte for lunch and dinner, will range from small plates to mains and include an "Umami-Bomb" New York Strip, Mary's half-chicken clay pot, roasted crab, and sushi tacos, plus vegetarian dishes. Barron was known for his dry-aged and house-smoked meats at La Valencia and he'll continue the program here, and also make Asian staples, including fermented miso, kimchi and yuzu kosho, in-house. The ice theme will spread to the dessert menu, which will feature homemade ice cream and frozen riffs on favorite sweets.